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The Best Things to do in Muswell Hill: Woodlands, Palaces and Plenty More

The Best Things to do in Muswell Hill: Woodlands, Palaces and Plenty More

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North London’s vibrant neighbourhood of Muswell Hill is full of great places to walk, eat, drink and explore. Planning a visit? These are the best things to do in Muswell Hill.

Close to Hampstead and Finsbury Park, Muswell Hill is a gorgeous leafy area of North London, jam-packed with independent restaurants, wooded areas (perfect for a stroll) and incredible views of the capital.

But, you might know the area for another reason: immortalised in song by Madness, who mention Muswell Hill in their song “Driving in My Car,” the area is now one of the most popular neighbourhoods in North London for young professionals to settle with their families.

Ready to explore? Come with us as we uncover the many delights of Muswell Hill…

Things to do in Muswell Hill

Visit Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace

One of the best things to do in Muswell Hill is to pay a visit to Alexandra Palace, commonly known as Ally Pally. It’s a thriving event and concert space used all year round. 

The vast 19th Century Grade II-listed venue is perched high on a hill, offering unrivalled views across the city. Its eye-catching and sprawling façade is well-known to visitors today.

Originally built as “The People’s Palace” by John Johnson and Alfred Meeson, it was part-destroyed by a fire in 1873, two weeks after opening. It was intended to serve as a centre of public recreation, education and entertainment rather than a private dwelling.

In 1936, it became home to the BBC’s first regular TV broadcasting service and now hosts regular theatre shows, music gigs, darts, ice-skating and snooker tournaments throughout the year.

Check out what’s on when you visit

Go Boating on Ally Pally’s Lakes

Alexandra Palace

Wander behind Alexandra Palace, and you are confronted with a huge boating lake full of ducks, geese, swans and – most excitingly – boats.

Rent a pedalo and spend a few hours enjoying the water – this is one of North London’s finest venues for casting off from dry land and pedalling your way serenely around the lake.

Don’t fancy it? You might be glad to hear that there’s also an excellent café sitting beside the lake, so you can sit and watch as the rest of your gang splashes around (we think grabbing a coffee and a cake is just as fun, anyway).

Unleash Your Wild Side at Go Ape 

Go Ape

Fancy a thrill? Go Ape has plenty of locations in and around London, yet fewer settings for their tree-top antics are as beautiful as at Alexandra Palace.

Set to the North-East of the palace, this treetop challenge is a high-wire adventure course for those brave enough to take it on. 

There are three levels for you to choose from, with the Treetop Adventure perfect for youngsters, families, and anyone nervous of heights, before the Treetop Adventure Plus ratchets the adrenalin up a notch, and the Treetop Challenge tests even the steadiest of nerves.

Explore the woodland canopy of this treetop rope course whilst getting close to nature and enjoying a whole new panoramic view of London, impossible to see from ground level.

Stroll Through Highgate Woods

You’re never far from beautiful, untouched natural woodland wherever you find yourself in London. And Highgate Woods provides residents of Muswell Hill and visitors alike a stunning forest area to enjoy. In truth, it’s one of our favourite London forests.

The open meadow, set within a clearing in the wood, is the perfect spot for frisbee, cricket, or football, while younger children can run riot on the excellently equipped playground. 

Hungry? The Queens Wood Café stocks plenty of hot drinks and treats, while woodland wardens offer night walks to spot owls, bats and other creatures of the night.

Catch a Flick at Everyman Cinema

Everyman Muswell Hill

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that we are a sucker for independent cinemas, and the Everyman in Muswell Hill is one of North London’s real treats. While you can’t ever really go wrong with Everyman, this three-screen cinema is one of our absolute faves.

It’s eclectic ethos means it shows Hollywood blockbusters and independent cinema’s cutest releases, as well as regular nostalgia trips down memory lane.

Enjoy dinner and cocktails beforehand before settling back on their comfy sofas and enjoy the trappings of drinks and snacks delivered to your seat.

Read Next: Our Favourite Cinemas in London

Eat Your Way Around Alexandra Palace Farmers Market

Sundays at Alexandra Palace are market day, with the famous Farmers’ Market pitching up in the surrounds of the old palace, selling the finest fresh food in North London.

Whether you’re after something to build a summertime charcuteries board, a hearty pie, freshly baked cookies, bread and biscuits, or even newly potted relishes, sauces, and pickles, you won’t be disappointed by the vast array of produce available at Ally Pally’s Farmers Market.

Catch a Show at The Gatehouse

We’ll let you in on a little secret – upstairs at The Gatehouse (an excellent pub, FYI) is one of London’s best pub theatres. The auditorium houses around 100 people and stages productions from single-person fringe shows to full-blown musicals and Broadway greats.

With slick production and outstanding acting, this is one of London’s most intimate theatrical treats and shouldn’t be missed by anyone who enjoys live performances.

Take the Parkland Walk

Parkland Walk Muswell Hill

Get out into the fresh air on The Parkland Walk and enjoy London from a new angle. This stunning trail lies along a disused railway line that runs through a wooded avenue and across open bridges offering spectacular views across North London and beyond. 

You can see where stations used to sit on this line that ran between Alexandra Palace and Finsbury Park, with the platforms still visible.

The walk is sheltered from the hustle and bustle of North London, giving the impression of being in the deepest parts of England’s countryside rather than the neighbourhoods of Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Finsbury Park.

Go for a Dip in the Lido

At the Muswell Hill end of Crouch End Playing Fields is the Park Road Lido, one of London’s biggest outdoor swimming spots. 

At 50 by 23 metres, this heated outdoor pool is open all-year round, through winter, spring, summer and autumn, to provide locals and those from further afield the perfect outdoor swimming experience.

Built in 1926 and approaching its centenary, the pool lies behind the indoor baths, and in our humble opinion, gives a much more authentic swimming experience. 

Booking in advance is advised, especially during school holidays and when the weather is nice and warm as it does get very busy. Don’t worry though; they do allocate timed slots, so you’re likely to get in at some point. There’s plenty of space for you to lounge on grassy banks in the sunshine, or on one of the loungers surrounding the pool.

Visit Can’t Buy Me Love for Vintage Shopping

Blink at the wrong time and you’ll miss the beautiful bright blue entrance spot for one of North London’s best vintage shopping spots.

Can’t Buy Me Love is a step back in time, neatly avoiding the jumble sale feel of many vintage stores by curating their goods and wares impressively.

The focus is largely on 50s, 60s and 70s fashion and homeware, but there’s something for everyone, with plenty of books, records, and curiosities to browse. 

The father and daughter team behind this gorgeous little boutique shop are experts in their field, so if there’s something you can’t find, they may be able to help you source it. Oh, and if you’re looking for quirky, unique greeting cards, they have you covered with some awesome retro designs that for every occasion.

Browse the Shelves at The House of Books

We’re avowed bibliophiles and love nothing better than browsing bookshops, particularly independent ons that have been serving the best literature and non-fiction to their local communities for decades.

The House of Books is an awesome example, bringing more than 125 years experience to be Muswell Hill’s independent local book store. While their stock is extensive and covers pretty much every genre you can think of, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, their helpful staff (who we’ve never seen without anything less than a smile!) will order it in for you.

Keep an eye out for regular events with famous and new authors, sometimes including exclusive readings from their work. 

Eating and Drinking

The Victoria Stakes

Victoria Stakes Muswell Hill

The Victoria Stakes is a cosy gastropub lucky enough to have the address 1 Muswell Hill. Laying at the bottom of the hill, this boozer is more than 100 years old and is now a delightfully decorated gastropub bursting with comfortable seating, an exquisite menu, and an excellent range of drinks.

Enjoy a sustainable and ethically sourced dinner that challenges any fine-dining restaurant around, while we highly recommend their Sunday Roast, which might just be the best in London (you’ll need to visit for yourself to decide).

As well as this, they serve a range of craft beers, wines and spirits sure to sate any thirst. 

La Lluna

La Lluna Muswell Hill

If, like us, you love tapas, then La Lluna in Muswell Hill Broadway is the place to go. Their unique and authentic Spanish food is sourced from local organic ingredients fused with specialties from Spain, such as cheese, ham, and Padron peppers.

Enjoy picky snacks or an entire tapas board with a glass of authentic Spanish Rioja or stunning Sangria. If you’re lucky, you may be able to enjoy some live flamenco performances while you eat!


If it’s no-nonsense, faster pasta you’re after, Fasta is the perfect low-cost, high-taste spot for a healthy, flavoursome lunch or dinner.

Choose your base pasta and then load it up with their massive range of toppings and sauces. Choose bolognese, pesto, or alfredo. Stick on some meatballs and basically just experiment to your heart’s content.

If you’re not feeling pasta, no problem. They extend their Mediterranean vibe to include some awesome pita breads and salads, including fabulous falafel and hummus. 

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